FLORIDA - The amendment for medical marijuana in Florida was defeated after support was just below the 60 percent needed to pass.
Amendment 2 got 58 percent of the vote Tuesday. The campaign for medical marijuana was among the most expensive ballot measures in the country, with millions spent on both sides.
Attorney John Morgan, one of the measure's biggest supporters and chairman of the United for Care campaign, said he will probably try again with Amendment 2.
Younger voters tend to turn out more for presidential elections and Morgan said he could use the 2016 election to his advantage.
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State lawmakers had passed a narrow medical marijuana law earlier this year to allow low-potency strains of the drug for certain patients.
But supporters of Amendment 2 argued a broader law was necessary to make medical marijuana available to people representing a broader group of illnesses.
Opponents prevailed with warnings the amendment was too loosely worded and would result in a system where marijuana was medical in name only.
The Morgan and Morgan law firm spent more than $5 million campaigning for Amendment 2. Morgan said he feels very strongly about the issue and that for him, it’s personal.
His brother uses chocolate-infused marijuana twice a day to deal with spasms and pain of paralysis.
Opponents with Drug Free Florida spent big money to fight back and that made the polls very close.
Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has spent $5.5 million in recent months to support Drug Free Florida’s campaign.
It’s a drop in the bucket for him; he’s the 12th richest person in the country.
There were no prior donations to campaigns opposing medical marijuana in other states.
“Millions of dollars have been floated into this state for the purpose of defeating medical marijuana, but Florida is not for sale,” Morgan said.
Voter Yvette Rodriguez said she has AIDS and admits she smokes marijuana to deal with her symptoms.
“I have to do what I got to do to get it,” she said.
She spent her morning asking voters to make it legal for her and other patients.
Nationally, 23 states and Washington, D.C., have passed medical marijuana laws, but most were passed through propositions or that state’s legislature.
Only five states that allow medical marijuana have had more than 60 percent of a popular vote to pass it.